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Recommended age 12-18
111 minutes
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Almost Christmas is a heartfelt story about a family at Christmas time. The comedy is well thought out and the storyline is terrific. This film is perfect for families who are enjoying the holiday season with each other.

The film is more about family than Christmas. There is no caroling, present wrapping or cookies. We just watch family members trying to find ways to put their differences aside and get along. The all-star cast is magnificent particularly Danny Glover as Walter, Gabrielle Union as Rachel, Mo'Nique as Aunt May) and many more. My favorite scene is when the uncle (J.B. Smoove) decides to fix the outdoor Christmas lights on the house and the kids watch him. After his wife warns him to get off the roof and let someone else fix the Santa Clause, he falls off the roof and lands on his face. This scene made me laugh so hard especially when the kids got out their phones to record it and post to their social media.

I adore Mo'Nique as Aunt May. She was adventurous and always willing to try new things even when the rest of the family is not. She doesn't put up with any jazz from the four adult children. She is brutally honest and very humorous. She is the one who makes sure the family sticks together like glue.

All Walter (Danny Glover) wants for Christmas is to have his four children get along for five days. Walter is not quite sure how to do this because his wife usually dealt with such things, but since she is no longer around he finds that he needs to step up and make Christmas fantastic for his family. The only problem is that the children don't get along with each other all that well.

The message is about families getting along. This family wants to spend their first Christmas together since their mother passed away, but families can be difficult. The message, beautifully demonstrated throughout the film, is that families should spend more time together and enjoy this time together.

I recommend this film for ages 13 to 18 because there is some drinking and some profanity. You should also know that this film discusses loss and how it hurts so it might not be appropriate for everyone. Other than, that this film is family friendly with great humor and storyline. I give this film 5 out of 5 Christmas Carol stars. This film opens in theaters on November 11, 2016 so go check it out.

Reviewed by Morgan B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

I enjoyed Almost Christmas because Christmas is my favorite holiday and it brought back memories of my family's gatherings. I could identify with Walter Myers (Danny Glover) in his attempt to bring his somewhat dysfunctional family together at Christmas time and his desire to honor his deceased wife and preserve some traditions. I feel traditions are special. What is not appealing is the suggestive material, drug use violence and profanity.

Almost Christmas opens with a journey of the Myers' lives and brings you to witness the five days before Christmas. It moves quickly and I did not understand some things in the beginning of the film until later. Walter Myers lost his wife the previous year and attempts to bring his family together for the upcoming holidays. Will they survive?

The behaviors modeled by the characters are a mixture. Walter Myers is a man who worked hard and provided for his family, wife, two daughters and two sons. He is having a difficult time dealing with the loss of his wife and is unaware of the struggles his children are having. Cheryl (Kimberly Elise), the oldest daughter, pretends that her life is perfect when, for real, her marriage to Lonnie (J.B. Smoove) is one affair away from being over.

The youngest daughter Rachel (Gabrielle Union) is trying to get through law school while dealing with a recent divorce and struggling to get by. Christian, the oldest son, is happily married with two great kids but is obsessed with his political campaign. Evan (Jessie T. Usher), the youngest son, is in college and is currently fighting an addiction to painkillers.

One of my favorite parts is the heartfelt conversation between Aunt May (Mo' Nique) and Walter (Danny Glover) over a piece of sweet potato pie Walter bakes. Aunt May lets him know not only does he love and care for her sister, his wife, but he also allows her to pursue her life and career.

Almost Christmas displays perseverance with Walter Myers' attempt to make a sweet potato pie as good as his beloved deceased wife. It has many comedic elements throughout. Director David E. Talbert use multiple themes of loss, financial struggles, parenting and divorce as vital roles in developing the story. Almost Christmas has colorful visuals, especially the costumes of Aunt May which are beautiful and look fabulous o her. The music is fun and memorable, the locations are quite realistic locations and the emotions the film evokes resonate with most of us.

I give this film 4 out 5 stars and recommend It for 14 to 18-year-olds as well as adults. You can see Almost Christmas at local theaters beginning Friday, November 11, 2016!

Reviewed by Juanita S. Leary, KIDS FIRST! Juror

Walter Meyer (Danny Glover) is a retired mechanic who lost the love of his life one year earlier. Now that the holiday season is here, he invites daughters Rachel (Gabrielle Union) and Cheryl (Kimberly Elise) and sons Christian (Romany Malco) and Evan (Jessie T. Usher) to his house for a traditional celebration. Poor Walter soon realizes that if his bickering children and the rest of the family can spend five days together under the same roof, it will truly be a Christmas miracle.
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